Heterogeneous Paths Through College: Detailed Patterns and Relationships with Graduation and Earnings

49 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2014

See all articles by Rodney Andrews

Rodney Andrews

University of Texas at Dallas

Jing Li

University of Tulsa

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2014

Abstract

A considerable fraction of college students and bachelor's degree recipients enroll in multiple postsecondary institutions. Despite this fact, there is scant research that examines the nature of the paths - both the number and types of institutions - that students take to obtain a bachelor's degree or through the higher education system more generally. We also know little about enrollment in multiple institutions of varying quality relates to postgraduate life outcomes. We use a unique panel data set from Texas that allows us to both examine in detail the paths that students take towards a bachelor's degree and estimate how multiple institution enrollment is related to degree completion and subsequent earnings. We show that the paths to a bachelor's degree are diverse and that earnings and BA receipt vary systematically with these paths. Our results call attention to the importance of developing a more complete understanding of why students transfer and what causal role transferring has on the returns to postsecondary educational investment.

Suggested Citation

Andrews, Rodney and Li, Jing and Lovenheim, Michael, Heterogeneous Paths Through College: Detailed Patterns and Relationships with Graduation and Earnings (February 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w19935. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2403659

Rodney Andrews (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas ( email )

Jing Li

University of Tulsa ( email )

800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
United States
9186312963 (Phone)
9186312963 (Fax)

Michael Lovenheim

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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